5 Interesting Facts Of The Most Popular Sport In Mongolia

Mongolians’ love for sports has always been enormous. Even though Mongolians do not take part in various types of sports, but those sports that we do compete in, we do passionately. The world's favorite basketball and football are widely supported and practiced in Mongolia thanks to TV and technological advances. However, Mongolian Wrestling (Бөх or Bökh), one of the three sports take place in Mongolian Naadam Festival or so-called “Three Games of Men", has been the most popular sport in Mongolia. Here are 5 interesting facts about the most popular sport in Mongolia, which you can see when you travel to Mongolia.

Facts about Mongolian wrestling and naadam

Opening Ceremony Of Mongolian National Holiday Naadam Festival 

1. One of the oldest wrestling forms

Wrestling has been practiced in Mongolia for over 7000 years. This assumption is proven by petroglyphs (rock-carving), dated back to the Bronze Age (7000-11000BC), displaying a wrestling activity found in Del Khonjil Mountain in Ulziit soum of Dundgobi province, Mongolia.

facts about Mongolian popular sport wrestling

Petroglyphs of Del Khonjil Mountain

2. There is no age or weight restriction

Mongolian wrestling is a full-contact sport played in the outdoor area on the grass during summer, in indoor stadiums during winter. Mongolian wrestling has no classifications based on age or weight, and all wrestlers compete under the same category. The objective of wrestling is to force any part of the opponent’s body except the palm to touch the ground. Mongolian wrestling takes a format of elimination. In Naadam festival, 512 or 1024 wrestlers participate in 9 or 10 rounds of the wrestling competition. Special anniversary years, 1024 wrestlers compete in Naadam. For example, the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Mongol Empire was 2006.


3. Rankings named after animals

Mongolians are nomadic people, who live close to nature and animals. This lifestyle led to  An interesting and old fact is wrestlers can only attain ranks during Naadam. Each region celebrates small Naadam and has the right to give regional ranks to wrestlers. In National Naadam, wrestlers start getting ranks from 6th round. Ranks include Falcon (6th round), Hawk (7th round), Elephant (8th round), Garuda (9th round), and Lion for the winner of National Naadam. You must win the tournament at least two times in Naadam to earn a ranking of Titan.
Wrestlers imitate mythical Garuda bird by holding their hands up high as wings before the match and after winning each match. The loser of a match passes under the “wing” of the Garuda-dancing winner.

Sodnomdorj Tsedev, National Lion of Mongolia. Win one time in National Naadam Wrestling

4. Mongolian Wrestling to International Success

There are over 600 technics of defeating an opponent in Mongolian wrestling, which requires strength, flexibility, and high IQ from a wrestler because of the rule, which allows the palm to touch the ground. This advantage has led Mongolians to compete successfully in other wrestling forms, including Sumo, Judo, etc. 
Mongolia’s long-waited Olympic Gold Medal was earned by Tuvshinbayar Naidan, who proved his success by winning the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in the men’s -100 category of Judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. He practiced Mongolian Wrestling from a young age and now holds the rank of National Elephant, one of the highest rank of Mongolian Wrestling. 

Tuvshinbayar Naidan, National Elephant, 2008 Olympic Champion and 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist  

5. 6002 wrestlers set the Guinness World Record

The Guinness World Record for the largest Mongolian wrestling tournament was set when 6002 competitors competed in the nine-day wrestling festival took place between September 17 and 25, 2011 in the Central Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The previous record which was set in 2004 with 2,048 wrestlers, having been set in Xiwuzhumuqinqi in Inner Mongolia. 

Mongolian popular sport wrestling -interesting facts

Photo resource: unread.today

I am sure Mongolian wrestling attracted your attention. Naadam Festival is the best chance to see Mongolian wrestling and professional wrestlers, so do not forget to visit Naadam Festival when you plan to travel to Mongolia. You will get to see horse racing and archery beside Mongolian Wrestling, isn't that cool?




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